Drone developments: Tiny autonomous UAV flies without GPS

Drone developments: Tiny autonomous UAV flies without GPS
Phenox2 is equipped with four propellers.
PHOTO: Nikkei Asian Review

TOKYO - A Japanese graduate student has developed and marketed a small drone that can fly autonomously and stably without need for the global positioning system, or a remote controller.

The palm-size drone, called Phenox2, is now on sale.

"There is no other commercially available drone (of this size) that can fly autonomously without using a GPS and whose flight programme can be changed freely by its user," said Ryo Konomura, the Ph.D. student at the University of Tokyo who developed the machine.

The development and commercial sale of Phenox2 comes amid growing expectations that such unmanned aerial vehicles will become widely used for business purposes such as spreading pesticides and delivering packages.

The key to the full-scale dissemination of drones is flight safety, and Phenox2 boasts stellar performance.

In a recent demonstration, the operator of a Phenox2 blew a whistle, and the drone took off. It rose to about 1.5 meters above the floor and hovered there without swaying from side to side or up and down.

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